Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stepping Out on Faith: Fatima Doukoure

Today's Stepping Out on Faith feature is on Fatima Doukoure, owner of Bebenoir Boutique in New York, NY.

Former Job:  Advertising Sales
Passion:  Fashion/Running her own boutique

When did you discover your passion? 
I discovered my passion 10 years ago over dinner with friends at an African restaurant in Harlem. We were talking about dreams and aspirations and my partner mentioned that he wanted to have a fashion house. I thought this was a brilliant idea and I wanted to be part of it.  I am also passionate about educating children, particularly girls in my native country of Mali and also projecting Africans in a positive light. Far too often, we are so accustomed to seeing all the ghastly things about Africa. Yes, we have those things but we also have a fashion conscious and artistic population that is often not talked about.
What was your "breaking point" when you knew it was time for you to do your own thing?
My former employer made the decision for me. I was laid off in 2009 when the economy was at its worst. We already had a boutique so I decided to go full force.
What has been one challenge in stepping out  and running your own business?  
There are so many it's difficult to single out one specific challenge but if I had to choose, I would say capital. When I had a job, I could rely on my paycheck. Now I have to work harder for less money. 

What has been the best part?   
The best part is seeing your idea evolve to a finished product and also the amazing people you meet along the way. Best example, I met you Nneka through the business and you have truly inspired me. Thank you!! 

What advice would you give others ready to step out?
I would ask them to take their time. One must make sure they are prepared for it all....the good, the bad and the ugly. The mental readiness is what gets you through the everyday stress that goes along with being a business owner.

For more info on Fatima and her boutique, Bebenoir, check out her website:
Visit her boutique where they offer cute clothes, alterations, custom work, pattern and sample making, and photo studio/workspace rental!
2164 Eighth Ave
New York, New York 10026
(212) 828 5775

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